What is a feature you miss on old cars that new ones don't have?

What features do you miss on older cars that new ones don’t have? It can be anything–something functional, or just the styling.

Personally I miss the floor-mounted hi-lo beam switches, and when everything becomes “push to start”, I will miss turning an ignition key. It also gave you more of a sense of accomplishment to watch a mechanical odometer roll over when you reached 100 or 200K miles instead of a digital one just changing digits. I also had an old Chevy with hand-cranked wing windows. Those were kind of cool and functional–they’d really direct air to cool you down.

I also miss the floor switch for the high beams. I miss the radio scan button on the floor right next to the high beam button even more. We had that on my parents 1964 Cadillac Model 62 hard top. Loved that car.


Vent windows were pretty cool. The passenger could smoke a cigarette, and the driver wouldn’t even know it by smell.


I miss vent windows, floor mounted headlight dimmer switches, and bench seats.

A local key shop has an official looking proclamation allegedly signed by the govenor in OK some years ago which stated they were banning steering column dimmers and requiring them all to be mounted on the floor again.

The reasoning was that there were too many accidents after a University of Oklahoma football victory due to the drivers getting their feet tangled up in the steering wheel… :slight_smile:


The foot switch dimmer, vent windows, and on motorcycles…kick starters and bench style seats that didn’t lock you into one position like the modern “your butt is stuck in a hole” seats do, and maybe also bring back trail bikes that you don’t need a ladder to mount.

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I also miss the floor dimmers and vent windows. What I also miss is lock cylinders on the rt ft door and deck lid.
How about the little covers over the lock cylinders that swiveled or rotated out of the way for use.

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On curves ahead
Remember, sonny
That rabbit’s foot
Didn’t save
The bunny

I kind of miss those signs on the highways.

I, for one, like steering column dimmer levers. I can recall frantically stamping on the floor with my foot to find the dimmer switch. With the steering column lever it is easier to flash an oncoming driver to dim his/her lights. The industry should standardize on dim and bright positions with the lever. I like forward bright and backward dim; seems logical. Possibly the car design people offering inconsistent positions for steering column lever to get dim and bright is a source of dissatisfaction with the steering column control.

It would be good if rear seat foot and legroom was brought back to what cars had in the 1930s to somewhere in the 1950s. Some cars now are impossibly crowded in the back seat when the driver has the room what he/she wants. I do not have a firm date on when rear seat foot and legroom was reduced to a minimal amount but it seemed to have gone away when no one was looking. In the 1930s to the 1950s even low price cars had good rear seat foot and legroom.

Yes, wing windows were good to have. I would pay a good amount of money (200 dollars?) to get them as an option for a new car. They were effective at keeping front seat passengers cool in hot weather in some parts of the country but not all.


Wing windows.

Rim-Blow steering wheels.

Telescopic steering wheels, though they’re making a come-back.

Trunk space and leg room. My Town Car still doesn’t match 70 Coupe DeVille, 65 Ninety Eight, or 65 Continental to name a few.

Several ash trays.

I LOVED vent windows. Is there any reason that they aren’t still around? I remember mid 90’s vehicles still had them. I hate using regular windows.

I also love key ignitions. I love that feeling you get when you turn the key. It isn’t there with push ignitions. Also allowed you to USE THE RADIO WITHOUT FIRST TURNING THE ENGINE ON. (some cars)

Oh, and being able to rev the car from the engine bay. Throttles controled by cables are also much more sensitive to response, not like the 3 second delay you get nowadays to “save fuel”.


Maybe I live in a place without enough straight roads, but I don’t miss bench seats at all, especially the slippery vinyl ones that made me hang onto the wheel for dear life to keep from ending up in the passenger seat on left turns. I’ve had bucket seats since '87. I did like the high beam switch on the dead pedal, though.

I miss the exterior trunk lid handle

It seems that more and more cars don’t have one . . . and you have to fumble for your key fob just to open the trunk

I also miss full size spare tires

They’re not even available as an option on some cars . . . for pity’s sake!

I realize that the full size spare was eliminated to save weight, which “raises” the fuel economy

But sometimes I think things have gone too far

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I think that any alleged fuel economy savings created by space saver tire weight loss is more than offset by fuel consumed during numerous AAA service calls and tow trucks.

I liked cars with trunk lids that locked and released with a T handle that you turned, and a key cylinder in the center that you could choose to leave unlocked. I like tailgates in 2 pieces or with a window you rolled down into the gate, especially the ones that you could open down or to the side. I like automatic transmissions with the control on the dashboard or steering column, so you don’t have the console in the middle that takes up knee room. I like radios with big buttons. I sort of liked windshields that cranked out a little at the bottom to act as defrosters (mostly on pickup trucks). And I really liked straight 6 cylinder engines - they were smooth.

I especially like being 27 years old! That was a great year. Unfortunately, like a lot of other things, it’s not coming back.

Yeah vent windows and the vents down by your feet. Almost didn’t need AC on the highway. But really one of the most irritating is no radio station knobs. I want to be able to change stations by turning the knob. Heavy bumpers are another.

One thing I hate is cars that have the switch to turn the headlights on and off at the end of the turn signal stalk… Who thought that was a great idea? In what way is this an improvement over having the switch on the dash? And another stalk on the other side for the wipers–also hate that. Whenever I get a rental car that has the wipers there, I always bump the thing and turn the wipers on when I don’t want to. My current car has a stubby stalk on the left for the cruise control operation, which is a little annoying, but at least the operation of it is logical–push in to turn on, pull to set, push away to cut out, down to decel 1MPH, up to accelerate 1 MPH. I can live with that.

I miss the headlight switches that you pulled out to turn on–one click for parking lights, two for all lights. I wonder what the last car to have those was? My 1980 New Yorker still had this style of switch.

Simplicity and ease of repair. I realize modern vehicles are safer but they are weighed down by far too many “gizmos” to suit me.

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I actually prefer today’s cars to the less reliable, less safe, less durable ones of yesteryear.
However, I do miss the old gas stations!

For an interesting look at gas stations from the '30s to the '70s, take a look at:


Bench seats…love my 92’ pickup (best first vehicle a kid could have, why I’m putting in effort to fix er’ up).

I miss the door lock knobs that DON’T fully recess into the door panel